Presentations and public speaking can be incredibly stressful experiences for anyone. People are usually stressed about what to say, how to say it, how to remember it and use slides, as well as how to cope with nerves and keep people listening.

It is important to realize that feeling nervous before you make a presentation is completely natural. Seasoned lecturers, politicians, celebrities, preachers, and other presenters often feel nervous before making a presentation or speaking in public despite having presentations under their belt.

If you are about to, or will ever, make a presentation to a large audience, it is important to be aware of pain points/stressors that could potentially cause your presentation to derail. 

What happens if I show up with my laptop and it dies mid-presentation?

Technical mishaps often happen, even to some of the greatest speakers in the world. If your laptop dies mid-presentation, you can do something to divert the attention of the audience such as running a poll, telling a life story that relates to the content, take questions from the audience. This will help you buy time while the AV staff or event/presentation admins find a new laptop or find a charging cable for your laptop. If there is no solution don’t panic! Apologize to the audience and continue with the remainder of your presentation if possible. If that is not possible then conclude your presentation and work with the admin or staff to reschedule your presentation for a different time.

If you or your event were using audience engagement tools such as 2Shoes you could simply tell the audience to download your presentation on their mobile devices since it offers document hosting and follow along while you continue your presentation from your mobile device or an audience members device..

What if my slides have audio and the speakers don’t work?

Having speakers fail while you are making your presentation can be quite annoying for the presenter, staff, and audience. Having a backup copy of your slides or using an audience engagement platform like 2Shoes could help with this issue. The platform would allow for presentation distribution where the audience could hear the audio from their own devices.

What if they are using outdated software that doesn’t support my files/presentation?

The fact that we are currently in the information age means that this is probably not a problem that you should be too worried about. However, in the rare event that you find the venue where you are holding the presentation doesn’t support your files you should always bring your own device and connectors. Remember, luck favors the prepared. 

With the adoption of technology, your attendees will probably have smartphones, tablets, and laptops at your presentation. If you were using an audience engagement platform, simply ask the audience to download the presentation files to keep the presentation going as the audience follows through on their devices.

What If my presentation skills are below par?

Wondering whether your presentation skills are any good is a genuine concern. For the most part this is easy to remedy through practice and by refining your content. You could also do practice presentations to friends and colleagues and get them to ask you questions. For most people, the presentation is not the scary part, it is the Q&A that follows.

An unsatisfied audience can be a great spur. Get the speech training that you have been thinking about. Simply knowing that you have first-rate speaking skills can be a great confidence booster. It will also make you more eager to speak.

What if I start feeling self-conscious?

Feeling self-conscious in front of large groups as opposed to small ones is one of the most common reasons for performance anxiety. To help with this, remember that the people in the large audience are still the same ones that you talk to individually. Many audience members have the same performance anxiety as you do and by simply presenting your data/presentation confidently, your status will be elevated in their minds.

The second thing that can help is just focusing on talking to the audience as individuals as opposed to “presenting”. It is much easier to speak to a few people than hundreds. Pick a person in the audience or a few people spread out around the audience to focus on.

What if I look nervous?

If you fear that you will look nervous to your audience, worry not as this happens to many speakers. It can be easy to assume that once the audience sees those nerves, they will automatically assume that you don’t know your topic. However, the truth is that the two are not linked.

If you see that a speaker is nervous, do you usually sympathize or make a judgment on the person’s professionalism? You will probably sympathize. Similarly, your audience will extend you sympathy as opposed to resistance during any mishaps or slips in our presentation.

What If I am not adequately prepared?

If you have not done your homework, it will be very hard, if not impossible, for you to succeed and will have nobody to blame but yourself. Being unprepared seriously undermines public speaking confidence, however, being prepared gives you a lot of confidence.

Completing practice presentations for friends and colleagues and even having an event admin or peer review your presentation will help with preparation. If it is content you are having trouble with ask colleagues for their input or the event administrator for their input. You can also use services like Youtube to watch similar presentations. 

Final Thoughts

Whiles these questions focus on the presenter and their feels, what really matters is the experience and feelings of your audience after the presentation is completed. Your audience should always be at the top of the list of your considerations when making a presentation.

You need to understand that the audience wants you to succeed. Nobody likes to watch a presenter struggle. If you concentrate on creating the best experience for your audience, you will unwittingly take the pressure of yourself.

2Shoes offers a wide range of tools to help with audience engagement and response. It empowers curiosity and increases attendee interaction through Live Q&A, Polling, Surveys, Evaluations, Document Hosting, and other tools. Try 2Shoes today and see the difference its tools make to your presentations.